Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, on Saturday called on government to return public schools to their original owners to allow stakeholders including alumni associations to contribute fully towards the development of their Alma Mata.
Ooni Ogunwusi who is the Chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria made during the inauguration of N50 projects at the St. John’ Grammar School, Ile-Ife, executed by members of the St John’s Old Boy’s Association (SJOBA) within the school premises.
The monarch who decried the level of decay in the country’s school system, lamented that founders of the schools which are mostly churches and clergymen left great structures which due to lack of proper maintenance are currently in poor state.
“I call on our government to allow real owners especially alumni of our schools to take charge in order to restore the glory of our education sector. They know better because they have been through the system and are in the best position to effect the required changes towards prosperity.
“Look at the projects we’re inaugurating today, we’re talking of N50million worth of job, it would take the government a longer period to do something like this that is if they find it necessary in the first place because of the large number of important works competing for the government’s limited resources.
The monarch who asked the old students if they can enroll their children in their alma mata judging by the current standard, got a negative response from the silence audience who agreed with him that it is practicable to let old students step in, to play active roles in the interest of the upcoming generation.
Osun State Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola in his address applauded members of the SJOBA, noting that the projects which include a gated fence worth N18m, a full-size bronze statue of the founder, Rev. Father Fabian Cloutier worth N5.1m; modern toilets constructed at the cost of N12.5m; library renovation at the cost of N5m and renovation of two blocks of classroom at N15m, were well thought out to address the all-round needs of the school.
Oyetola who was represented by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Charles Akinola, explained that “Old school associations remain critical partners in revolutionising and transforming our schools.”
“Our Administration came on board with a Development Agenda with reform contents that proactive addresses all the sectors. The education sector tops this initiative. Shortly after assuming office, we commenced the revitalization of schools across the State with renovation of buildings, provision of books and educational materials/teaching aids and training and re-training of teachers. We also place emphasis on vocational and technical education to check unemployment and make our youths job creators and entrepreneurs.” The Governor noted.
Governor Oyetola was then inaugurated as the grand patron of the association, to join the Ooni of Ife who was decorated as a grand patron of SJOBA on Friday at his Ile Oodua Palace.
On the motivation behind the projects, SJOBA President, Dr. Festus Oshoba explained that they were motivated by the rare gesture of the school’s founder, Rev. Father Fabian Cloutier, a Canadian catholic priest who took his share of his family inheritance to build the school in Nigeria in 1962.
“We would like to request for a partnership with the state government where the management of the school is substantially under the auspices of the Catholic Church and SJOBA.
“We also request that the state government should assist us in getting the school accredited for the COMPUTER BASED TEST (CBT) by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in view of abundance of the facility at the school.” The President noted.
The event was attended by top dignitaries including the Osun State Commissioner of Education, Hon. Folorunso Oladoyin.